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Board of Commissioners vote to delay long-awaited project
County - LOCAL

NEWTON COUNTY – The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to table the decision of a long-awaited project on Tuesday.

The board voted 4-0 in favor of a 60-day delay of a proposal from AHV Partners, LLC surrounding the addition of sidewalks to a subdivision off Spring Road in District 2 between the R1 and R2 zones. District 5 commissioner Ronnie Cowan was absent at the June 18 meeting.

A housing project that originally began in 2005 is now beginning phase two which includes the addition of new homes to the location. However, sidewalks were not built in phase one because of zoning conditions.

The developers are now hoping for a decision to be made on whether or not sidewalks should be included as they break ground on phase two.

Various members of the community attended the meeting to share their thoughts on the addition of sidewalks. Those who spoke were all in favor of the sidewalks but not in sacrifice of the uniformity of the community.

The members of the current subdivision all agreed that they would appreciate some time to speak with the developer of this proposal to learn more before bringing the decision to a vote in the coming weeks.

Mark Walton of Patrick & Associates, Inc., who spoke on behalf of AHV Partners, LLC, was against the idea proposed by community members to delay the vote.

“We would like to have a decision,” Walton said. “We are getting to a point of the year that if we get delayed 30 days or 60 days, we are going to get out there and we are going to be caught in the winter, so we would like to have a decision one way or the other.”

The board unanimously sided with the members of the subdivision as they voted 4-0 in favor of a 60-day delay. District 2 commissioner Demond Mason issued the motion, with District 1 commissioner Stan Edwards providing the second.

With the 60-day tabling, the board is set to revisit this discussion during the August 20 meeting.

Additionally, District 3 Commissioner Alana Sanders requested that the safety measures surrounding Fairview Community Park be added to the agenda.

Sanders mentioned how this issue was brought to the board’s attention in 2021. In 2022, Sheriff Brown spoke to the community and laid out ways to increase safety measures, but Sanders was not satisfied with what came after.

“The sheriff did that in 2022,” Sanders said. “We have not even moved forward with any safety measures in Fairview Community Park. It is now 2024, they have had a fire, they have had other things in that area. We are liable, it is based on operations and the board of commissioners to provide the safety measures or the funding.”

Residents of the Fairview community also attended the meeting in support of Sanders’ statement. County Manager Harold Cooper added that he plans to follow up with the sheriff and that this issue will be a focus on an agenda in the near future.

Commissioners also voted 4-0 in approval of a proposal by MI Sweetwater, LLC to use an office with fleet parking for daily pickups and dropoffs. The board did amend the guidelines of the proposal to ensure that no more than 12 trucks are used at the location and that only pickup trucks will be used.

Finally, the board voted 4-0 in approval of the Capital Improvement Element Annual Update.